Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2010-04-26 05:00:56Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Although the AIIM Expo Discovery Pavilion had a modest start with six booths, that did give me plenty of time to visit with my neighbors and dig into their new features and offerings. The sheer size and diversity of Legal Tech tends to make it difficult to get real information at the booth. Everyone is trying to schedule you for an offsite demo and jump to the next person in line. I got to talk shop with the good folks at Catalyst and Planet Data in a way that would not have happened at one of the major eDiscovery shows.  The Catalyst team has been busy integrating new conceptual and organizational technology into the user workflow of their CatalystCR platform.

After working on so many different review platforms, I am afraid to say that they all seem to run together. Only the good/bad differentiators tend to stick with me after a demo or testing session. What I have come to appreciate and look for in systems is a well thought out integration of features with realistic usage scenarios. For example, most review platforms add duplicate or near-dup items as a field that can be searched or recalled into a pop-up window from an icon. So they have checked the box for the RFP, but that is not integrated into the dynamic display, issue coding propagation, privilege conflict reconciliation and more.

Like too many of the proprietary hosted review providers, Catalyst CR is only available as a SaaS offering directly from Catalyst Repository Systems. However, they have seen the writing on the wall and do have an ‘All In’ licensing option for 12 or 24 months. This roughly equates to ‘subscription licensing’ with some level of services added in. I will be following the success of this offering and similar ones from other providers. The major complaint for companies and firms that would like to transition to a sole-source SaaS provider is the inability to justify the volume pricing for the early assessment stages of small and contingency cases. Counsel does not want to have to sign off on expenses when they do not yet understand the overall scope and potential liability of a matter.

To support corporate and law firm customers, Catalyst CR has developed a Fast Track automated processing workflow and secure FTP system to enable users to upload and automatically process collections. Since most customers have a default processing configuration, this reduces the email instructions and Catalyst’s project management overhead while giving more responsive control to the customer. Traditional hosting providers did all the loading/processing/productions behind the scenes, often with frustrating delays and miscommunications. We are starting to see this transition model where appliances and collection software feed collections directly to the cloud under the customer’s remote management. Examples are IPRO SaaS,  Stratify eVantage™ appliance, eDirect Impact and many more.

Catalyst CR ver. 8.8 has added automated machine translation to enhance the review of foreign language documents. Leveraging the FAST Instream search engine to index, they have expanded their concept analytics with intelligent text filters that extract people, organization, acronyms and locations from the text content into navigation/search facets. Dynamic navigation of the data sets is effectively a type of ‘guided search’ and a great example of integrated analytics that enable the user to know the dominant people, dates and categories without having to guess. These navigation filters showed up in Symantec Discovery Accelerator v. 7.0 for archive search and have been slowly appearing in the new generation review applications as they have moved to FAST and Lucene indexes. Besides a nicely embedded Equivio document comparison functionality, they have a ‘More Like This’ search expansion feature that leverages the concepts and near duplicate document chunks to retrieve potentially related or similar items for group tagging and quality assurance. My overall impression is that the Catalyst team has leveraged their user community to make sure that their analytics are merged into actual workflow instead of just bolt-on, checkbox features. Now we get to watch and see if they can or even want to convert a large, multifaceted platform into enterprise ready software. This is what the market seems to be demanding, even when they do not have the personnel, process and infrastructure to take on the challenge. I am pleased to see a hosted provider willing to offer an ‘All In’ pricing model that breaks out of the volume pricing trap. Maybe they are just on the cutting edge and we will see more cracks in the per GB wall.

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